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Full text of "My country and my people"

IDEALS    OF   LIFE                             101
commonly understood. FizŁt, religion as an embodiment of priestcraft, with its dogmas, its apostolic succession its appeal to miracles, its patent cures for sins and selling of pardons, its salvation "made easy" and its good solid heaven and hell. This religion, so eminently saleable, is common to all peoples, the Chinese included, and may be regarded as satisfying man's needs in certain stages of human culture. Because there is need for these things among the people, Taoism and Buddhism have furnished them to the Chinese, since Confucianism refused to furnish them.
Secondly, there is religion as a sanction for moral conduct: here the Chinese and the Christian points of view differ widely. Humanist ethics is a man-centred, not a God-centred ethics. To the West, it seems hardly imaginable that the relationship between man and man (which is morality) could be maintained without reference to a Supreme Being, while to the Chinese it is equally amazing that men should not, or could not, behave toward one another as decent beings without thinking of their indirect relationship through a third party. It should seem possible to conceive that man should try to do good, simply because it is the human, decent thing to do. I have wondered what the development of European ethics would have been if it had not been overshadowed by Pauline theology. It would have developed, I think, by sheer necessity along the lines of Marcus Aurelius's meditations. Pauline theology has brought in the Hebrew notion of sin, which has clouded the entire field of Christian ethics, and from which there seems no escape except by religion, such as is provided in the Doctrine of Redemption. As it is, a European ethics divorced from religion seems such a strange notion that it has seldom occurred to people's minds.
And thirdly, there is religion as an inspiration and living emotion, a feeling for the grim grandeur and mystery of the universe and a quest for security in lifei satisfying man's deepest spiritual instincts. There are moments in our lives, perhaps during the loss of our dear ones or during the period of convalescence from a great illness, or perhaps on a chilly autumn morning as we look at the falling leaves and a sense of death and futility overcomes us, when we live more than the